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Greenfield is the common word to describe a new project.

By opposition Brownfield refers to project of expansion or revamping or services on an existing facility.


Greenfield word is not a quote reserved to the oil and gas and petrochemical industry, but it finds in this sector some fundamental reasons to be used more than elsewhere.

First reason is related to the activity itself, mostly driven by exploration or upstream.

By definition, exploration means to develop activities where there was not.

Therefore in rather green areas onshore and by wording extension offshore.

In addition it happens that most of the oil and gas reserves are lying in regions with small density of population, which is not the case of other industries.

Second reason is related to the downstream activities.

Refining and all downstream petrochemical activities are handling thousands tons per day of oil and gas as feedstock and as many tons per day of transformed products.

Because of the massive quantities of raw materials to be delivered and in many cases by ships, most of the downstream facilities must be located close to the shore and accessible rivers.

These areas nearing water sides are by nature truly greenfields.

Greenfield project requirements

Breaking ground for a greenfield project used to be considered as free of constraints from existing work or installation and therefore easier and cheaper for engineering and construction than brownfield.

Today’s reality is slightly different especially when it comes to oil and gas and petrochemical projects. 

The term of greenfield has been then adopted by all industries including computer and telecommunications.

Anyway greenfield project has to face specific requirements:

Green preservation and environmental footprint

 – Power supply

 – Local support and services

 – Campground facilities for first workers

 – Acceptance by local inhabitants even if not many

 – Logistic and access

 – Potential decommissioning constraints

For the last ten years the greenfield projects have faced an increasing pressure of requirements to minimize environmental footprint impact, local acceptance and to improve safety and operational excellence.

These new requirements have consequential effects on the schedule for completion and capital expenditure of the oil and gas and petrochemical projects.

For more information and data about oil and gas and petrochemical projects go to Project Smart Explorer

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